Mark Hughes to replace Neil Warnock as QPR boss

Make your Mark! Hughes handed task of saving QPR after poor run sees Warnock sacked

Mark Hughes will be installed as Queens Park Rangers manager this week after Neil Warnock was sacked on Sunday night.

Club supremo Tony Fernandes axed Warnock after agreeing a compensation package with the 63-year-old and his assistants Keith Curle and Mick Jones to end their 22-month stay at Loftus Road.

Owners Fernandes and Amit Bhatia have already reached a deal with Hughes to take over at the Barclays Premier League club, who lie a point above the relegation zone. The former Manchester United striker will be joined by his right-hand men Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki.

Heading back to the big time: Mark Hughes is set to be new QPR boss

Heading back to the big time: Mark Hughes is set to be new QPR boss

Fernandes is currently out of the
country but will return to England before the end of the week to
formalise Hughes’s appointment.

The Malaysian businessman views the
Welshman as the perfect candidate to steady the ship. Despite his
sacking as Manchester City manager in 2010, Hughes impressed Fernandes
with his accomplishments in difficult circumstances. But it is his
record with Blackburn, under financial constraints, that stands out for
Fernandes.

Given his status as an Old Trafford
legend, Hughes also fits the bill for Fernandes’ global marketing
vision for the west London club.

Table toppers: Warnock celebrates winning the Championship with his players last year

Table toppers: Warnock celebrates winning the Championship with his
players last year

Fernandes said: 'This decision has
been made in the best interests of the club and I can assure everyone
that this is not a decision that was made lightly. Sadly, our recent run
of poor form has seen us slip alarmingly down the table and the board
felt it was the right time to make a change.

'Neil has acted with honesty,
professionalism and integrity throughout his time at the club and I
would personally like to thank him for his significant contribution to
QPR over the last 22 months.

'I genuinely wish him all the very best for the future and he will always be welcome back at Loftus Road.'

Struggling: Warnock saw QPR find points hard to come by in recent weeks

Struggling: Warnock saw QPR find points hard to come by in recent weeks

Vice-Chairman Amit Bhatia added: 'It
is with a very heavy heart that we make this announcement. I played a
key role in bringing Neil to Loftus Road and consider him to be a close
personal friend and a great professional.

'I would like to place on the record my thanks to him for transforming us from a Championship club to a Premier League club.

'As a club we have gained enormously
from Neil's wisdom, experience and leadership. He has always performed
his managerial duties to the very highest of standards.

'I
wish Neil every success going forward and he will always be welcome at
QPR. I now look forward to the future and the rest of the season as we
work towards stabilising our position in the Premier League.'

Difficult time: QPR have had a tough few weeks and have slipped to fourth bottom of the Premier League

Difficult time: QPR have had a tough few weeks and have slipped to fourth bottom of the Premier League

Warnock’s side had picked up five
points from a possible 33 and Sportsmail understands key members of the
QPR board were due to meet on Thursday to discuss his position. But the
club’s 1-1 draw in the FA Cup third round against MK Dons on Saturday
forced Fernandes to make a quick decision.

He is said to be ‘deeply
disappointed’ by QPR’s league position, particularly given the amount of
money spent by Warnock in the summer to bring in the likes of Joey
Barton, Anton Ferdinand, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Luke Young.

Furthermore, Fernandes has been
unconvinced by a number of Warnock’s signings, feeling money could have
been spent better elsewhere. The former Sheffield United boss was to
be given between 15m-20m to spend this month but Sportsmail revealed
last week how Fernandes was having second thoughts on handing over the
funds.

Instead, the businessman was keen for
Warnock to explore the loan market for suitable signings and the only
player they have brought in is Manchester United striker Federico
Macheda.

Loan star: Federico Macheda is the only arrival so far in January

Loan star: Federico Macheda is the only arrival so far in January

Fernandes has taken a more prominent
role in the recruitment of players this month and has been at the
forefront of attempts to sign Manchester City misfit Wayne Bridge and
Chelsea defender Alex.

The apparent breakdown in trust
between the two men has now cost the former Crystal Palace boss his job.
Talk of Hughes’s possible appointment was openly discussed by members
of the playing staff, as was Fernandes’ apparent reluctance to hand over
transfer funds to Warnock.

Warnock said: ‘Obviously I’m very disappointed but having achieved so much, I leave the club with a great sense of pride.

‘I have enjoyed my time here more than anywhere else and the QPR fans have been brilliant with me — they deserve success.

Decision time: Owner Tony Fernandes opted to sack Warnock to try and help QPR climb up the table

Decision time: Owner Tony Fernandes opted to sack Warnock to try and help QPR climb up the table

‘My biggest regret is that the
takeover didn’t happen earlier, because that would have given me the
opportunity to bring in the targets I’d pinpointed all last summer and
probably given us a better chance to succeed in the Premier League.’

'The board at QPR are hugely ambitious and I wish them every success for the future.

'I've
been involved in the game a long time and I will be spending the
immediate future with my family and friends before deciding my next
career move.'